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Good News Clinics striving to maintain service, but call before you come
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A Good News Clinics staff member visits with a small group outside the office Friday, March 20, 2020. - photo by Scott Rogers

Even amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Good News Clinics strives to remain steady for its patients.

Liz Coates, executive director of the nonprofit, said Good News, which specifically serves those without health insurance, has been managing people’s chronic diseases for nearly 30 years. 

The clinics operate through donations and with a roster of doctors who provide voluntary services.

“Right now, in this time of instability, the clinics are continuing to carry out that mission with faith, hope, and love to our patients,” Coates said. “We are keeping our over 3,500 patients well and out of the hospital for those who truly need emergency care or a bed in which to recover from illness or surgery.”

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A Good News Clinics staff member checks the temperature of a patient Friday, March 20, 2020, before they are allowed inside. - photo by Scott Rogers

To protect patients with chronic conditions, Coates said the organization has asked those with a fever to call before coming in. 

“Most of what we’re doing is screening people by the phone to remove the unnecessary visits,” she said. 

Before people enter Good News in Gainesville, they’re met by staff who ask about their symptoms. All scheduled patients with a fever, sore throat or cough, will be ushered into a sick tent, which sits in the facility’s courtyard.

“For now, we don’t have access to testing,” Coates said. “Our big protocol is that we’re trying to make sure we have a separate area for the sick.”

If a patient meets the symptoms of COVID-19, Coates said Good News staff can make a referral through the Georgia Department of Public Health for testing.

To comply with social distancing, the nonprofit has implemented telemedicine to ensure routine visits and refills are made.

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A Good News Clinics staff member waits to check the temperature of anyone going inside the clinic Friday, March 20, 2020. - photo by Scott Rogers

Longstreet Clinic in Gainesville has also launched protocols for its patients, including screening people before they visit. These guidelines can be found at longstreetclinic.com

The clinic asks those who have a fever of 100.4 degrees or greater, cough, shortness of breath and/or a sore throat, to call its office at 770-718-1122 or message their provider via MyChart.

People are also asked to call before coming in if they have been within 6 feet of a confirmed COVID-19 patient for a prolonged period, traveled in the past 30 days and/or are a health care worker who had direct, unprotected contact with a coronavirus patient.

Northeast Georgia Physicians Group additionally encourages its patients to take social distancing seriously. Those who are sick are asked to stay home and monitor their symptoms. 

If the symptoms worsen, patients are advised to call their primary care office or local urgent care. Anyone 18 and older who shows flu or COVID-19 symptoms, can take advantage of NGPG’s E-Visits.

Through this online service, people can receive a treatment plan and/or prescription without leaving the comfort of their home.

For more information about NGPG’s E-Visits and COVID-19 protocols, visit ngpg.org.

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